Storm Ciara Passes Through

Posted on February 10, 2020

Well, that was a good storm wasn’t it? So often these storms come along amid yellow warnings and, inland, we a treated to nothing more than a blustery day. The coastal areas of the UK end up as the only ones getting all the fun.

Of course, there is no fun in an Oak tree falling on your car, getting your house flooded, or getting swept off your feet by a raging torrent. However, most of us will admit that if a storm arrives as a damp squib, it is something of a disappointment.

Picking up the Storm

What I found impressive about Storm Ciara was that it was predicted before it had formed. This was due to extremes of temperatures in the USA that propel the jet stream. As cold met warm, some cities in America went from +25c to -5c in a day.

Once that moisture is picked up, the low-pressure system starts forming and is fired along by a 200mph Jet Stream. The low pressure started to form in the US on Monday, and by Tuesday the weather warnings for yesterday were being released.

On Saturday afternoon there was an eerie calm before the winds started picking up. It was calm to a point where my dog was having a sleep in the garden sun trap. By the time it was dark, clouds were skidding past the full moon like in a Hammer House of Horror movie. It was soon to be all systems go.

In the Storm

I went out in the storm yesterday. After initial excitement, I did get a bit alarmed as the wind started knocking me around. Partnered with heavy rain, sheet lightning and hail, the wind picked up further still. A mile from my car, fear and cowardice started seeping into me nearly as fast as the rain.

Would this be the dog’s finest hour? If I passed out, would he race for help and guide paramedics to my side? If truth were to be known, he would have been more interested in navigating the nearby electric fence that was protecting sheep from a game of chase.

It was a proper storm. The wind was relentless and gusting at speeds I have never been out in before. Part of me was wishing I was back indoors watching Netflix. But the other part of me was enjoying it, grandiosely feeling like an adventurer battling nature (I was 2 miles from Oakley). It was proof of how pampered we are in our First World hell.

It was a long storm too, with windows rattling and debris bouncing down the street well into the night. Even today the wind was very strong as the centre of the storm headed off to Scandinavia. It has been a rare few days of excitement in a largely damp, drab and uneventful winter.

The Met Office

Fair play to the Met Office. They saw how the storm was going to be created and tracked it from its creation until it hit land. All through the week they updated warnings and advised how the intensity could drift north or south of the country. Their final amber warning on Friday night was bang on the money.

Now retired, Michael Fish must have been looking on wishing he had had such technology to hand when he made something of a clown of himself after patronising a woman caller in October 1987.

“Earlier on today apparently a woman rang the BBC and said she had heard a hurricane was on the way”, said Fish, followed by, famously. “Well I can assure people watching, don’t worry, there isn’t.”

Despite hurricanes not being technically possible in the UK, it was spectacular weatherman hubris that, due to technology, will never be repeated.

Michael Fish, being a man of honour, did the decent thing.

He blamed Bill Giles.

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